Steampunk Events in The South

Steampunk conventions are a great way to meet people, share creative ideas and the love of the genre, and learn something new by attending one of the many panels of experts held at every event.

There are conventions all over the country, but if you’re in the South you’re lucky enough to be close to some of the best conventions there are.

The Steampunk Extravaganza in Greenville, South Carolina was first held in November of 2010, and since then has been a fun and fascinating annual celebration of steampunk and Victorian history in all its many aspects.

steampunk lady

From the fan-made fashion to the interesting and engaging panel discussions — on Victorian steam trains; writing steampunk novels; and the technology in H.G. Wells’ works, to name just a few — the convention is an all out celebration of all things steam for one glorious weekend.

Over 300 people attended the convention its second year, as well as numerous vendors offering everything from a Victorian inspired corset or shoes to handmade armor and steampunk goggles.

Highlights of the yearly event, according to the attendees, are the Victorian tea, the live music, and the Ball. The costume contests provide ample opportunity for showing off all the stunning original fashions crafted by the lovers of steampunk in attendance, both men and women. These events are a great way to take in the best of the creations on display and to find inspiration for your own steampunk attire.

In Atlanta, Georgia, the Anachro Con has been going strong since 2009, offering lovers of alternate history and steampunk a place to gather and celebrate the fashion, fact, and fiction of the Victorian era.

The main con takes place every February, with historical reenactments and lectures on science forming just a part of the busy schedule. Over the summer, however, the group puts on their Summertime Steampunk event, an outdoor evening dedicated to Victorian alt history. The steampunk Nerf battle is the biggest focus of the night, although the costume contest with its surprise grand prizes is also a favorite.


Anachro Con is great because the organizers are passionate about creating an environment that’s welcoming for everyone, no matter what your preferred version of history, and they work hard to make their events safe for all their guests.

The Big River Steampunk Festival in Hannibal, Missouri is an unmissable event for steampunk fans. The town itself is a historical landmark and its Victorian and Edwardian buildings and architecture make the perfect backdrop for a weekend devoted to everything steampunk. Tour the mansions on millionaires row or the incredible field of airships brought to exhibit, do some shopping in the Emporium, or attend a seminar led by one of the experts on Victorian history, science, and science fiction that come to the con every year.

Because this con is held throughout the entire town of Hannibal there are lots of free and public events over the course of the weekend, including parades, seminars, and the entertainments on the main stage. Come in costume or wear your street clothes — either way you’ll have a great time.


Finally, while not exclusively steampunk, the Necronomicon, held in St. Petersburg, Florida, is a weekend full of science fiction and horror events, discussions, and parties. This convention was started all the way back in 1982 and its long history has made it one of the most polished and exciting gatherings of its kind.

The Masquerade and the Hall Costume Contest are great places to show off your carefully constructed period costume and to mingle with the other well-dressed attendees. The Necronomi-Prom is another fun place to show off your fancy duds, and a new theme every year lets costume enthusiasts really stretch their muscles by designing something unique.

Wherever you go to celebrate your love of steam you can count on finding plenty of other fans to share it with and events that engage both your imagination and your intellect. Conventions and group events are such a great outlet because they offer the opportunity to meet like-minded folks in person to talk shop and form friendships that last long after the convention has ended.

Have you ever attended a steampunk event? What was your favorite part of the experience?



The History of Steampunk

The genre of steampunk — in books, in movies, and in cosplay — has started to gain more popularity and recognition these days. But its history as a subculture in artistic circles goes back much farther than many people realize and is made up of more than just beautiful Steampunk costumes or a corset.


A Definition

Steampunk can be defined as the blending of current or even imagined future technology — aircraft; machine guns; long-distance communication — with the Victorian era, or roughly the 1800s. Imagine a motorcycle powered by a steam engine and you’ve got the makings of a steampunk situation.

The “punk” in steampunk comes from the idea of going against the established set of rules in society, and so steampunk characters in books and movies can often be seen battling against the norms: inventing strange new things instead of taking over the traditional family business; speaking their minds (especially the female characters) instead of accepting what they’re told. And in a society as full of strict rules as the Victorian age, it was easy to go around breaking them all the time.

Bookish Beginnings

The 1800s were a time of rapid scientific changes — electricity came into homes for the first time, and machines were being invented that would revolutionize the way common products were made and the ways in which people lived their lives. The railways were also rapidly taking over the country of England and filling the pastoral countrysides and newly bustling cities with clouds of steam from their coal-burning engines.



All these changes happening at the same time and at such a quick pace inspired the imaginations of the Victorian people, and genre of science fiction, well, picked up steam.

Jules Verne, author of such Victorian Science Fiction classics as 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea and Journey to the Center of the Earth, is often regarded as being the father of what we consider Steampunk today, although the term itself wasn’t coined until 1979. His novels feature technology that was unimaginable at the time, and indeed even still are, all set amid the Victorian age of which he was a part.

Movie Magic

When film making entered the scene, some of the earliest movies made were adaptations of these Steampunk novels — 20,000 Leagues was adapted for the screen in 1916, and Mysterious Island, another Verne novel, in 1929.

For some time, however,  the genre slipped into obscurity as just another oddity of the past. It wasn’t until after the Second World War, when Science Fiction entered its golden age and the space race brought visions of all sorts of amazing new technology into the public mind, that Steampunk found its footing again.

Some of the most notable Steampunk novels of the present century were written in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and indeed this is when the modern subgenre of Steampunk is said to have officially begun. When the author K. W. Jeter wrote to Locus magazine with a copy of his novel Morlock Night and suggested that authors such as himself be given a new title, “steam-punks perhaps,” the phrase was born.

Today the genre has taken on a life of its own, with new books coming out every month and movies like Wild Wild West (1999), Van Helsing (2004), and The Golden Compass (2007) making it popular again amongst the masses.

Making it fashionable

Dressing up Steampunk has become popular, as well. Because of its roots in Victoriana, the culture of Steampunk today is marked by its extraordinary fashions, with corsets and skirts and boots and jewelry that were a staple of that historical time period while also being adorned with the brass, copper, and leather trimmings that echo the scifi machinery and futuristic inventions that make Steampunk what it is.

A lovely steampunk corset
A lovely steampunk corset

At Cons around the country it’s inevitable to spot top hats adorned with motoring goggles and elegant ladies wearing mechanical bustles over their silk and lace corsets. It is, indeed, a fine time to be a lover of Steampunk, a genre that has deep roots and that shows every sign of continuing on for a long time to come.